If you have never taken a Myers Briggs personality assessment, I highly recommend it. While these assessments do try and fit who we are in a nice clean compartment may minimize the complexities of what make us truly unique creatures, these assessments can tell us a lot about ourselves. I have always been fascinated with the fact that I ALWAYS come out as an introvert. ALWAYS.
My colleagues are always so surprised by this, swearing that they always thought I was an extrovert. Then, one day someone told me something that has really stuck with me, “Competency and proficiency do not mean preference.” I was blown away by this statement, but it makes so much sense. I am an introvert that has just so happened to garner skills most associate with extroverts.
The thing is, like any reasonable person, I found myself garnering skills through opportunity. I found myself in roles and situations to learn skills like public speaking, coaching, professional development, and I took advantage. Additionally, like others, I took the time to hone these skills and was lucky enough to have amazing coaching along the way. What I am trying to communicate is that introverts can be extremely ambitious people, just like extroverts. We as introverts hone our leadership skills and do enjoy the aspects of leadership that deal with an introvert’s stereotyped worst nightmare…PEOPLE! (scary music).
Misconception 1: Introverts hate people. Introverts do not hate people, nor do we necessarily shy away from social opportunities, we just need some alone time (ok, a lot of alone time) to recharge our batteries, so that we are our best selves we are in front of others.
Misconception 2: Introverts are always so quiet. NOPE! NOPE! Leslie Knope! I have taken many personality tests and while some things change, one thing is consistent about these assessments and me, I am an introvert. I am also quite loud, and will speak up. Introverts are not necessarily quiet people.
Misconception 3: Introverts want to be individual contributors. Heck NO! Introverts, like me, are ambitious, and want to coach and manage and actually enjoy coaching and managing others. As an introvert, for me, this means simply coming home to my wife and doggo after a long day instead of going to happy hour.
There are so many misconceptions about introverts, and the above are three fairly standard assumptions I find that folks sometimes have when thinking of introverted vs. extroverted people. At the end of the day, we are all human and want and desire remarkably similar things. Stop assuming that introverts cannot do, will not do, or do not want to do the things that a lot of people categorize and professionally extroverted skills.